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Discussion Starter #1
I post this, because I would LOVE to know how much all these things would have cost me at a stealer. Here is a list of the things I got done and how much it cost me.

The maintenance minder said it was "124 miles past due." Which means its right on time, for me. I don't like to change the oil at 15%, or 10%. I like to change it when it's at 0 miles left. But, I'm in the process of moving, and not living at home at this time. So I getter done, when I getter done. 124 miles over is NOTHING.

Replaced engine oil - 4.5 quarts = $12.15
Replaced engine oil filter (Genuine Honda filter) = $4.65
Replaced engine air cleaner (Genuine Honda filter) = $17.48
Replaced cabin air filter (Genuine Honda filter) = $26.36
Replaced serpentine belt (Genuine Honda belt) = $36.73 *(I only did this cause mine was squealing a bit)*
Replaced front parking sensor = $219.43
Shipping of all but oil & oil filter = $15.79

Not counting the sensor = $113.16
Including the sensor (all) = $332.59.

I bet all this work at the stealer would have been $1,000 or more.

BTW - I was perplexed as to replace the sensor or not. For one, she has just been turning the feature off, and it does not make any alert that there is a problem. 2nd - I thought I might have to remove the bumper, but didn't have to (I made a post about replacing the sensor). And 3rd, I didn't want to pay $220 for the sensor.

But when I added the total order up, including the sensor, it came out to $300.00 even! So I took it as an omen. :stupid:

$17.48 + 26.36 + 36.73 + 219.43 (I already have the oil filters and I buy Castrol GTX from Advance Auto) = $300.00, not counting the shipping.

This was a B2 service + the serpentine belt + the sensor.

How much do you folks think a stealer would charge for this?


JyRO
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well, I had to know. So I just called the dealer. I was close.

$325.60 - B2 Service
$146.70 - Replace the serpentine belt
$489.00 - Replace the parking sensor

$961.30

Geez-a-lou. I know a dealership has to make money, but c'mon! I don't see how dealerships should EVER have financial problems, except for having more than they know what to do with.
 

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Is there a writeup on how to replace the serpentine belt? Is it easy?
 

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Discussion Starter #4

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Well, I had to know. So I just called the dealer. I was close.

$325.60 - B2 Service
$146.70 - Replace the serpentine belt
$489.00 - Replace the parking sensor

$961.30

Geez-a-lou. I know a dealership has to make money, but c'mon! I don't see how dealerships should EVER have financial problems, except for having more than they know what to do with.
Just to play devil's advocate for the dealer. They have to pay the electric bill, the advertising bill, the franchise fee to Honda, the bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment (the purchase, updating and maintenance), the mortgage on their property, the insurance on physical property, liability insurance, the worker's comp insurance, the environmental impact fees, service manager's salary, service administration workers' salary, service advisor's salary and the technician's salary. And do all that while still making a profit that justifies keeping the doors open in the first place.

Granted, most of them still overcharge, but there's a lot more they have to pay for than the average person thinks.

The last dealership service department I worked in had to cover $2000/day in overhead costs before we were profitable and we were one of the smaller dealers in our metro area in a building and on land the owners owned outright. So, if you're looking at some of these new, platinum garage-mahals out there that have cropped up over the last ten years, you can bet they have to cover closer to $7000/day just to keep the doors open. That's a lot of serpentine belts, brake pads and rear main seals.

Another little known fact is that dealerships actually lose money changing oil. It's considered a "loss leader" so that they can a) offer their customers a convenient service and b) build a relationship with that service that leads to profitable work like AC jobs or brakes or heavy-line repairs.

All that being said, if you can do the work yourself for less than you'd pay the dealer (based on what you make an hour at your job), then you're far better off doing it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bat - The last time I was in a dealer service area, waiting on them to do some warranty or something that I wasn't having to pay for, I was chatting with the counter-lady as she was thumbing through the DAILY invoices (I asked her). As she was thumbing through them, my eye managed to hone in on the TOTAL box, and I copped a look at the totals as she thumbed through them.

Let me just say, that the local dealer to me, is having NO PROBLEM paying their overhead.

And I don't see how my "hourly" rate at my job has any bearing on whether I'm saving money by working on my own vehicle. I don't get paid, "by the hour." If I go in on Saturday, I don't make overtime. But I haven't worked a weekend in years. So on the weekend, or week nights, whenever I work on my vehicles, it is not reducing my take home pay. So it has no bearing, for me. Saving ~$630 in 2 hours of working on my own vehicle feels very good.

And also, I put the QUALITY of my work FAR AHEAD of what I will ever get at an OEM service center. There are some private garages that do good work, or try to do good work. But, due to the payment structure of (at least) OEM service centers, it induces the technicians to fly through maintenance and repairs as absolutely as fast as they can. Which leads to short cuts and mistakes ... basically low quality work. When I do work on my vehicles, I have confidence knowing it was done RIGHT.

JyRO
 

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Bat - The last time I was in a dealer service area, waiting on them to do some warranty or something that I wasn't having to pay for, I was chatting with the counter-lady as she was thumbing through the DAILY invoices (I asked her). As she was thumbing through them, my eye managed to hone in on the TOTAL box, and I copped a look at the totals as she thumbed through them.

Let me just say, that the local dealer to me, is having NO PROBLEM paying their overhead.

And I don't see how my "hourly" rate at my job has any bearing on whether I'm saving money by working on my own vehicle. I don't get paid, "by the hour." If I go in on Saturday, I don't make overtime. But I haven't worked a weekend in years. So on the weekend, or week nights, whenever I work on my vehicles, it is not reducing my take home pay. So it has no bearing, for me. Saving ~$630 in 2 hours of working on my own vehicle feels very good.

And also, I put the QUALITY of my work FAR AHEAD of what I will ever get at an OEM service center. There are some private garages that do good work, or try to do good work. But, due to the payment structure of (at least) OEM service centers, it induces the technicians to fly through maintenance and repairs as absolutely as fast as they can. Which leads to short cuts and mistakes ... basically low quality work. When I do work on my vehicles, I have confidence knowing it was done RIGHT.

JyRO
I'm certainly not saying you shouldn't do the work yourself. In fact, I said if you can, you should.

The "what you make" comment is based on whether it's worth your time. When I can make $45 an hour, it's not worth it to me to spend that hour doing something I can pay someone else $25 to do (like changing oil). Obviously if you saved over $300/hour, it's worth your time unless you're insanely rich, in which case you wouldn't bother buying a Honda. ;)

Keep in mind those total numbers you saw were the ticket total, not the profit on the ticket. And, not all dealerships work the way you describe. Granted, there are a lot that are total crap, but not all of them. And, there are just as many indy shops that work the same way, while using inferior parts and poorly trained technicians.

I worked as a mechanic and service advisor for well over a decade in indy shops and a few dealerships. It seems like the family owned ones are more honest, and the dealerships that are part of big chains (like Auto-Nation, for example) are less trustworthy.

In the end, I was just posting to give you a better idea of what it takes to work on a car professionally. It isn't all just counting cash. As of 2000, the average professional mechanic owned more than $60,000 worth of tools they bought themselves and had spent over 400 hours in classroom environments learning the trade.

So, yeah, it's great that you can save yourself a bundle of cash, but please don't use that as a license to bash everyone who fixes cars for a living.

And, thanks for the post on the serpentine belt. Ours looks great right now, but I'm sure I'll need to replace it sooner or later and I've only changed them on GMs & Fords.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You know what, I would probably buy a cheap car if I were insanely rich. A car is a depreciating asset, a poor poor investment. The less you spend on it, less poor of an investment it is.

Question: In your opinion, at what point is one insanely rich? I'm not being technical, or tricky. Just wanted to understand your perspective.

And if you can make $45 an hour, you're likely not going to be making that 24 hours a day. In those down hours, when you have free time, the time you spend doing maintenance doesn't compete with your income. If you were making $45 an hour 24 hours a day, then I'm 100% in agreement that it's worth it to have an outside source do work for you for a rate less than $45 per hour. No brainer.

About those tickets, if you had seen the amounts, and the number of those amounts (the number of them was the biggest factor), they could support a fancy dealership in Dubai quite easily. It was dumbfounding.

I can appreciate the techs and their tools. Its not they're fault that its structured such that they rush through jobs. I had a coworker who is an ASE certified mechanic and wrenched for a GM dealership for a couple years. It came down to it that he didn't work fast enough. I've know this guy for 7 years ... he's very deliberate with his work. And that kind of mindset didn't work in the dealership he was at. His own vehicles are remarkably maintained.

I don't recall having bashed anyone or any dealer technicians. As for referring to a dealership as a stealership, that is a reference coined by others much smarter than myself, and IMHO is WELL EARNED. As far as crooked, I tend to believe the sales side of an average stealership is more crooked than the service side. But there's no way the average service side is not playing games either. Again, I'm not talking about the technicians per se.

There's a service writer (I think that's his position) at the local Honda stealer. They took off the left brake light on my van to work on the left sliding door. They broke the taillight, gouged the paint underneath with the screwdriver they used to pry on the taillight (when a firm pull in the correct direction will easily pull two studs right out their grommets), then put it on too low, touching the top of the bumper. In the day or so that we had the van, it was already cutting into the paint.

I took it back and told the service writer that it needed to be adjusted up, and the body side track cover than they took off was too far forward, and it needed to be aligned. He told me, "there's no adjustment in these parts sir." He and I went round and round, me explaining that these things were lined up evenly before they worked on it, and I walked him around the parking lot and the other side of my Ody to show him the differences. He continue to defy logic.

In the end, I repaired it myself, took pictures and documented the whole thing, found the screws that secure the tailight was stripped (repaired those threads with thread cutting tools cause every place was closed up, was working on it on 12/24), aligned all the parts back like they were supposed to be. I documented the results too, then I sent an email to the dealer owner and CC'd the service writer and attached my documented report. I had to live with the scratch in the paint from the brake light, it wasn't in an easily noticed place. And eventually my wife customized the rear bumper, and I got the whole thing repainted at that time.

That's the kind of customer service and work quality I've come to expect at that dealership. So ... I am no fan of dealer service. I've seen that guy a time or two since then. He gets red faced mad every time he sees me. I guess the owner let him have it, as he should have.

As for my own serpentine belt, it didn't look bad at all, even after inspecting it once it was off. But the slight squealing noise it was making at times warranted replacement.
 

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You know what, I would probably buy a cheap car if I were insanely rich. A car is a depreciating asset, a poor poor investment. The less you spend on it, less poor of an investment it is.

Question: In your opinion, at what point is one insanely rich? I'm not being technical, or tricky. Just wanted to understand your perspective.
I'd call it in the 400 richest Americans list. I once heard Leona Helmsley had a crystal WALL in her house. That's insane. ;)

And if you can make $45 an hour, you're likely not going to be making that 24 hours a day. In those down hours, when you have free time, the time you spend doing maintenance doesn't compete with your income. If you were making $45 an hour 24 hours a day, then I'm 100% in agreement that it's worth it to have an outside source do work for you for a rate less than $45 per hour. No brainer.
I work freelance and can work as little or as much as I like, but don't like to spend my free time doing things I used to get paid to do... feels too much like work, unless it's saving me good money to do it.

About those tickets, if you had seen the amounts, and the number of those amounts (the number of them was the biggest factor), they could support a fancy dealership in Dubai quite easily. It was dumbfounding.

I can appreciate the techs and their tools. Its not they're fault that its structured such that they rush through jobs. I had a coworker who is an ASE certified mechanic and wrenched for a GM dealership for a couple years. It came down to it that he didn't work fast enough. I've know this guy for 7 years ... he's very deliberate with his work. And that kind of mindset didn't work in the dealership he was at. His own vehicles are remarkably maintained.
Sadly, that's a perpetuating cycle. When I was writing service, I routinely had people come in and expect us to rebuild their transmission or engine while they grabbed a cup of coffee from the lounge. We checked out one woman's truck in February and pointed out about 25 hours worth of legitimate work she needed done. She brought the truck back the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and demanded we get all the work done by 3pm (she showed up at 10am) so she could go on vacation. When I explained the jobs called for far more hours of work than these customers were allowing us, they'd get livid and storm into the service managers office and yell at him. Then, BS rolls down hill and perpetuates the mindset that you're "fast or dead". Just another example of certain people ruining it for the class...

I don't recall having bashed anyone or any dealer technicians. As for referring to a dealership as a stealership, that is a reference coined by others much smarter than myself, and IMHO is WELL EARNED. As far as crooked, I tend to believe the sales side of an average stealership is more crooked than the service side. But there's no way the average service side is not playing games either. Again, I'm not talking about the technicians per se.

There's a service writer (I think that's his position) at the local Honda stealer. They took off the left brake light on my van to work on the left sliding door. They broke the taillight, gouged the paint underneath with the screwdriver they used to pry on the taillight (when a firm pull in the correct direction will easily pull two studs right out their grommets), then put it on too low, touching the top of the bumper. In the day or so that we had the van, it was already cutting into the paint.

I took it back and told the service writer that it needed to be adjusted up, and the body side track cover than they took off was too far forward, and it needed to be aligned. He told me, "there's no adjustment in these parts sir." He and I went round and round, me explaining that these things were lined up evenly before they worked on it, and I walked him around the parking lot and the other side of my Ody to show him the differences. He continue to defy logic.

In the end, I repaired it myself, took pictures and documented the whole thing, found the screws that secure the tailight was stripped (repaired those threads with thread cutting tools cause every place was closed up, was working on it on 12/24), aligned all the parts back like they were supposed to be. I documented the results too, then I sent an email to the dealer owner and CC'd the service writer and attached my documented report. I had to live with the scratch in the paint from the brake light, it wasn't in an easily noticed place. And eventually my wife customized the rear bumper, and I got the whole thing repainted at that time.

That's the kind of customer service and work quality I've come to expect at that dealership. So ... I am no fan of dealer service. I've seen that guy a time or two since then. He gets red faced mad every time he sees me. I guess the owner let him have it, as he should have.
And guys like that should be kicked out of the industry. If I broke something when I was a tech, or one of my techs broke something when I was writer or manager, we fixed it. Any smart shop has a slush fund for that sort of thing because it happens. Even the best techs make mistakes. Acting like it doesn't happen is just bad business.

As for my own serpentine belt, it didn't look bad at all, even after inspecting it once it was off. But the slight squealing noise it was making at times warranted replacement.
Does the old belt have a glazed look on the ribbed side? You might want to check to see if you have a small leak somewhere or a bad bearing in a pulley. Belts only fail themselves when they dry-rot and crack from age. Usually, if a belt has an issue, something else caused it. Squeaks are usually caused by some kind of liquid intrusion, from either heavy dew, rain that splashed up into the belt area or a coolant leak.

A quick trick to get it to stop squeaking is to spray a few shots of WD-40 between the belt and a pulley while the engine is running. "WD" stands for water displacement and it can remove the liquid from the belt surface. Just don't stand in line with the pulleys and belt as the WD-40 will sling out a little bit and ruin a nice shirt (I don't know that from experience or anything ;) ).
 

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Everyone has good points in this thread.

Re DIY issues, it basically boils down to:
1- Time commitment: does one have time to do it?
2- Skills, Tools: does one have the proper skills, tools to do it?
3- Desire: does one have the desire to do it?

I understand dealership has to pay tons of overhead to pay but here is the issue for the car owners:
a. Dealership hourly rates is about $90-120/h.
Mechanics make about $20-25/h FYI.
b. The mechanic is usually competent but the ethics (service advisors etc) is often questionable.

The main reason I DIY:
#1- I work between Mon-Fri, so my weekends are "free". Any work I perform on my cars is money-saving for me.
Money-savings = Money gain!

Let's discuss strictly labor cost (parts cost is always there).

In other words, if I do the car work on Saturday and save $500 dealer labor charge, it is the same thing as if I never did the car work but went to my office and make $500 on a Saturday and use that money to pay for car repair (net loss = $0).
But since I don't work on Saturday, so the car DIY saves me $500 ---> practically speaking I made $500!

#2- The Skills/Tools issue: this is where the problem is for most car owners. They think fixing cars is very difficult. What most people don't realize is that: if they spend a little time learning (thanks to the Internet), they can learn it if they want too. But this leads to #3 below.

#3- Desire: by the time most people come home on a Friday afternoon, they are tired and rather play basketball, soccer with the kids on the weekend (instead of fixing cars!), so there you go!

So #1,2,3 are always competing with each other!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Bat Van - You got me worried now. I'll say that on rainy days, it gets more humid in the garage. And cranking it cold in a humid garage it seemed to squeal a bit more. I have noticed no leakage or drops on the garage floor. I watch the coolant overflow bottle, but now I'm going to open the coolant lid and confirm it there also. It doesn't seem to lose any oil on the dipstick over the o.c.i.

I would have thought spraying WD 40 on a pulley/belt would have been a no-no.

cnn -I agree with your reply.
 

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I am going to refrain from negative comments about dealerships, let's just say I would sell a car before I paid a stealership near me to work on it :)


However, I wanted to add a thought about this comment because I have heard it many times and it makes no sense unless I am taking a day off work without pay to perform the task.

The "what you make" comment is based on whether it's worth your time. When I can make $45 an hour, it's not worth it to me to spend that hour doing something I can pay someone else $25 to do (like changing oil).
What I make at my day job has NOTHING to do with how I would decide to pay someone else to perform a task for me.

It's how I value my personal time that matters. :)

Plus taxes, what I have to earn to be able to spend $45 are VERY different :)

If I think my personal time is worth $25/hour or more, then I will perform any task that my mind perceives to be 'money saving' when compared to my personal time value. It is my personal time I am exchanging to perform the task.

Some days my personal time has little value, I having nothing to do and tinkering on a vehicle provides me entertainment, so instead of paying $10 to go see a movie, I fix something on the car :) double win.

Then, there are those times of the year when money is tight and saving $100 is priceless when you don't have a $100 (those days are behind me, but I still remember them well)

Then there is the time factor. I can change my own oil faster than I can take the car to a local place and pay someone else to do it. If time is tight, many times it takes less time to DIY

Then there is the quality factor. I DIY on a lot of things because I am the only one that I can trust to do it right. What kind of value do you put on quality and the value in knowing something has been the done the way it should?

A co-worker of mine had his oil changed at WalMart (laugh if you want to, but the same level of mechanic is also at your local dealer, the dealer can not afford to have EVERY mechanic in the place be high end) and they forgot to put the fill cap back on.

He has a 50 mile one way commute to work, about halfway, he saw smoke coming from under the hood. Long story short, he had to get a tow and have another mechanic check out the car. He lost a day of work. He had to go fight wal-mart to cover his towing and vehicle inspection costs. I am sure that tied up 20 + hours of his time to deal with.

The 20 minutes or so I spend changing oil is nothing compared to all the problems he had on one botched oil change.

I might feel differently on the last issue *IF* I had a good dependable local shop that wasn't booked 2 weeks in advance. The vast majority of shops around me are dishonest, the one or two good ones are so far booked that I usually can't wait when I need something done.
 

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Everyone has good points in this thread.

Re DIY issues, it basically boils down to:
1- Time commitment: does one have time to do it?
2- Skills, Tools: does one have the proper skills, tools to do it?
3- Desire: does one have the desire to do it?
..........

#2- The Skills/Tools issue: this is where the problem is for most car owners. They think fixing cars is very difficult. What most people don't realize is that: if they spend a little time learning (thanks to the Internet), they can learn it if they want too. But this leads to #3 below.
..........
CNN,

I admire the DIY'ers like yourself and several others on the Ody forum who
could tackle big jobs like timing belt, brake rotor swap,
spark plug swap (you should try that on a V6 Sienna), water pump.

I couldn't (or wouldn't) do those jobs myself.

First and foremost, I worried about messing up or breaking something along the way.
One time, I tried to loosen a bolt on the alternator to swap the belt and the head broke off. Darned.

So even simple stuffs sometimes went awry.

If I knew someone who was a real car tech and would allow me to watch him doing the work,
then I would feel more confident and would know what to do if things didn't work out as planned.

Now I only attempt easy jobs and leave the rest to the real pros.:):)
I do the work myself b/c I want it done right. If I saves money, that is a bonus.
 

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Bat...never get into a thread discussion with a Fan Boy like above. Its a total waste of time...you know they type..the kind of fan boys that only buy the Genuine Honda Windshield Wiper Fluid, pay twice what they should, and think its better because it says Honda on it...spare yourself the frustration.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I buy em cause where I buy them its just about as cheap as buying them from Advance Auto, and I don't have to go get em.
 
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